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How the TRUTH of “Chernobyl” Dumped the “Leaving Neverland” FAKE

June 25, 2019

“This is not a film about Michael Jackson. It’s about the Robsons and Safechucks and their encounters with Jackson,” said Dan Reed about his “Leaving Neverland” creation.

Following Reed’s example I will also say that this post is not about Michael Jackson – it is about the two filmmakers whose films are the complete opposites and the only common feature and drawback they share is that both were produced by HBO.

This common production platform is indeed a drawback because the superb accuracy of Craig Mazin’s  “Chernobyl” may lead people to believe that “Leaving Neverland” made by Dan Reed is up to the same standard of factual accuracy. And the glorious effect of one film may reflect on the other though these two films are actually like poles apart – Reed’s so-called documentary is a blatant fake while Craig Mazin’s dramatization movie, which even has some fictional characters, is still breathtakingly authentic and true to life.

Craig Mazin

And this is not to mention the fact that Craig Mazin’s work is up to the highest standards of journalistic and human ethics, while Dan Reed is even unaware of these words.

If you put these films side by side you will also suddenly realize that the tragic but simple truth is much more harrowing than even the most sophisticated and horrible lies.

As a Russian viewer I can attest that Craig Mazin’s film is so true and close to reality that it makes your skin crawl. The way he depicts the life of Soviet people back in 1986 is so incredibly accurate that for those who know it firsthand it is a shattering experience – how could an American make it so authentic if he never lived here and never saw it with his own eyes?

Dan Reed

And conversely, how could the British filmmaker Dan Reed, who speaks the same language as his characters, make so twisted a job out of the vast materials readily available to him? And why is it so difficult for people to notice the fraud though every single thing in Dan Reed’s story clashes with reality?

Take for example, Dan Reed’s fixation on the “grooming” point he sees pivotal for his story about Robson and Safechuck.

What I was fascinated about with this story is the picture Robson and Safechuck draw of the grooming sexual predator.”

It was an opportunity to do what this documentary did, which was to take people on a journey right through two decades of two families’ encounter with a grooming pedophile—it’s really rare to get that opportunity. I don’t know if there are many documentaries that have done this—nevermind with a predator as famous as Jackson.

But what grooming is Dan Reed talking about if the Robson family sought out Michael themselves after two years of no communication with him and according to Robson’s own story the alleged abuse started the very next day they met?

Or look at the shameless way the two guys changed their stories even after they first made their allegations against Jackson. Not knowing how to explain the absence of that very grooming which so much impressed Dan Reed, Robson, for example, presented at least 4 versions of the time and circumstances when the alleged abuse started, though this is something the genuine victim never forgets.

Initially he didn’t remember a thing (as per his emails to his mother), then he didn’t remember whether his claims were his own memory or someone told it to him (the deposition), then he clearly remembered that it started the next day they met Jackson (the lawsuit), then he clearly remembered it was the next week they met Jackson (the film) and then the story landed at a point that the grooming began long before they met, when Michael Jackson didn’t even know of Robson’s existence, but the kid was already dancing to his videos – so now you know that if you are a fan of someone this person is guilty as hell of grooming you via TV 🙂

And all of it is said by Robson with a straight face and reproduced by Dan Reed in a confident and condescending manner as if we were some nitwits unable to see clarity in so clear a matter.

At least one piece of this morphing “evidence” will be enough for any person of integrity to drop the subject then and there in utter disgust, but not for Dan Reed. On the contrary, Reed has the audacity to proclaim these continuous fantasies as fact and assert in his every interview that what he and the two guys say is the final truth. And from that point on, skipping the unnecessary stage of proving the claims, he immediately proceeds to feigning indignation at how everybody could overlook it before he came and opened people’s eyes.

Acting like a spokesman for the two guys Dan Reed does not bother to explain why he starts off with a premise that Michael is a criminal, regards his guilt as a given and allows himself to freely speculate on the subject whichever way he likes.

I never met Michael Jackson, I never interviewed him, I don’t know what it was in his history or his psychological makeup that led him to molest little boys, and I don’t want to speculate on that.

It’s great music, he was a great artist and entertainer. He was also a pedophile.

I believe there were many other victims. I’m sure there are others out there who will come out when the time is right for them. We’ll see.

…what we can say for sure is that Wade and James were victims of Michael Jackson and so were their families. He’s the perpetrator in this story.

The maker of documentary Leaving Neverland has compared Michael Jackson to prolific paedophile and sexual abuser Jimmy Savile. The film-maker believes that Jackson had “at least a dozen” child victims who had been abused and could come out in the future.

He said he wants the film to inspire other victims of sexual abuse, adding: “My hope is that victims of child sexual abuse out there will see the courage with which James and Wade speak out, and how fearless they are in confronting a powerful abuser and will say, ‘If they can do it, I can.’”

Ian Katz, director of programmes, said: “Dan has ended the argument over whether Michael Jackson was a paedophile and given an insight into how families could be sucked into his celebrity.  “The way the Jackson estate have responded to this by seeking to discredit Wade and James is frankly despicable.”

In other words, Michael Jackson is guilty because Dan Reed says so, same as his boss on Channel 4 who ordered the show.

The approach of Craig Mazin who made the “Chernobyl” five-hour series is strikingly different. He doesn’t assert anything, doesn’t explain to us what we should think about his film and just presents the true chronicle of the grim events, based on his tireless personal research the standard of which is simply staggering, and the phenomenal care for detail springing from the respect for the people who lived through the tragedy – all of which turns his dramatization movie into a truly historic document.

Here is the opinion of a person  who was raised in the USSR and same as me was a witness to the events in 1986:

First of all, it is almost inconceivable that a Western TV show would go to this amount of detail authentically portraying Soviet life in that era, knowing full well that its target audience (Western viewers) would never appreciate the effort or indeed even understand it…

Trust me, I try very hard to find inaccuracies, however minor…. Not here. Everything, and I mean everything so far has been incredibly authentic. The typical provincial babushkas talking outside, the kitchen supplies and utensils, the white “celebratory” uniforms of school children (the tragedy occurred just before May Day), the shoes, the hair…

Even the little buckets used by Soviet citizens to take out the trash. They even found that crap somewhere! But I’m impressed by much more than the mere minutiae of Soviet everyday life. Yes, in this regard, Chernobyl is much more true to life than any Western show about Russia.. But, what is more impressive, is the characters, their actions, their thoughts, their motivation. The deep, ruthless drilling of the Soviet mind, what governed us, drove us and shackled us. Chernobyl pulls no punches and lays it all bare….
And this is really the key to its magic, for me at least. Not only is Chernobyl more realistic than any Western show/film about Russia, it’s more realistic than anything Russians would have ever made about themselves, at least on this topic. I am not hyperbolizing. Not at all.

In fact, there have been several Russian films about Chernobyl, and only one, made in 1990, during final stages of Perestroika, does justice to the sheer brutality of this deplorable event. And even this one is more about a hero struggling against the odds, a melodramatic trope. As for the more modern product, there is a film about heroic KGB agents trying to stop a CIA saboteur, for example. Modern Russian cinema, unable to unshackle itself from political expediencies and the “glory of the Motherland”, could never make a drama like this one.

In conclusion, yes, the nit-picky Russian viewer in me was utterly satisfied. The initial “Wait a minute, why are kids going to school on a Saturday?” response quickly gave way to “Shit, that’s right! We didn’t switch to the 5-day week until 1989!” Pure delight, I tell ya… Also, my 17 year old son watched with me, and his first reaction was to immediately dive into the Google rabbit holes trying to research as much as possible about Chernobyl. I don’t know about you, but to me this is as good a testimony of the shows greatness as anything”.

Very well said, but how on earth did Craig Mazin and his team do it?

Craig Mazin’s Years-Long Obsession with Making ‘Chernobyl’ Terrifyingly Accurate

…how is it that Craig Mazin, a 48-year-old screenwriter from Brooklyn, managed to tell the story of Chernobyl so well? I called Mazin to get answers. Ahead of Chernobyl’s finale on Monday, we spoke about his obsession with accuracy, the unbelievable lengths he went to achieve it, and the importance of telling the truth in a story about lies.

Craig Mazin: …I just started reading. I honestly just wanted to know, from a scientific point of view, what exactly went wrong that night. I used as many sources as I could find. I was looking at research articles in scientific journals; I was looking at governmental reports; I was looking at books written by former Soviet scientists who were at Chernobyl; I was reading books by Western historians who had looked at Chernobyl. I watched documentaries; I read first-person documents. And then there was Voices From Chernobyl, which is unique. What Svetlana Alexievich did there, I think, was capture an aspect of history we rarely see. We look at history from the point of view of the big movers, the big players, and she looks at history through the eyes of human beings. It really inspired me.

-And how long did that process of researching go on before you actually sat down to write Chernobyl?

-I would say about two and a half years. Of research, and preparing, and structuring. ..I was finally ready to dig into the writing in 2016.

I try my best to live by the principle that if you’re going to be telling a story that you didn’t live, tell it with as much respect as you can for the people who did live it. And this is one of the ways we show respect: by getting the details right. We were obsessive over it.

…We met with people who actually lived in Pripyat at the time of the disaster. We spoke to a lot of people. We spoke to former liquidators. But some of the most influential people I spoke to before I ever wrote a word were scientists.

– Why was it so important to try to nail the specifics of what went wrong on a scientific level?
-Because I respect science, and I respect the scientists who solved that problem. And I respect expertise, which I think is currently… I don’t know, not fashionable? …When it comes to the science, I want people to say, “OK, he cared. He cared enough to get it right.” If you don’t understand the science underneath a story that is scientific in at least one significant aspect, then don’t write it. That’s my feeling.

“Chernobyl” took more than five years in the making while the “Leaving Neverland” project was launched two and a half years later, but despite the difference in the year the films started fate has brought them together and apparently for a reason – so that the world could learn how to tell the real thing from the trash which is only imitating it.

Initially those of us who knew Dan Reed’s film the garbage it really is, wondered whether it was humanly possible to debunk the four hours of its non-stop lies. But what seemed impossible for humans turned out to be perfectly possible for the heavenly justice which smashed Dan Reed’s mockumentary in an easy and effortless way, by simply showing the standards of research a true documentary should be up to.

These incredibly high standards were set by Craig Mazin and his team, who showed the way to deal with the post-mortem reputation of those who lost their lives and whose deeds, whether good or bad, should be portrayed as they really were and not twisted to suit someone’s current agenda.

His film set the standards of respect for those who are still alive, and should be saved from the added wounds of lies and inaccuracies about the loved ones they lost.

It also set the standards of truth, care and responsibility of filmmakers to their viewers and besides everything else let the people feel the irresistible magnet of the top notch truth for which the film viewers quickly developed a craving no sensational tabloid story could ever do.

Craig Mazin cared enough about the truth to get things right. And Dan Reed didn’t care enough. In fact he didn’t care at all, because he did nothing to verify the two liars’ claims but had the cheek to present them as fact, and is so indifferent to the truth that when a new hole is found he simply cuts it out and arrogantly expects us to swallow the rest.

Now that fate has provided us with this splendid comparison with the “Chernobyl” highest possible standards Dan Reed’s film looks like nothing but a bad joke.

He wraps up his film with a theatrical gesture of Robson burning Michael Jackson’s most valuable memorabilia and when asked if those were the real sequin glove and “Thriller” jacket that Robson was burning in the final credits of the film, he says:

I wasn’t there when Wade burned those items, but the photographic evidence suggests those were the real deal, yeah.

However if Reed had checked up with the Julien’s Auctions he would have learned that Robson most probably never had a Thriller jacket at all as he sold his most valuable memorabilia items already in 2011 and the Thriller jacket was not among them. The inquisitive MJ fans asked the auctioneers and this is the information they received:

Julien’s Auctions, who handled an auction of Jackson memorabilia in 2011, responded to a few fans questioning the validity of the items Robson burned. The auction house responded by saying, “Wade consigned his collection to us directly. He was the person who we paid when we sold his collection. He needed the money.”

They added, “Wade asked to remain anonymous and said that he did not want anyone to know that it was him selling it the items in 2011. But we did not agree to that and listed it as the Wade Robson collection. He consigned multiple items and wanted us to sell all items of his that had value.”

According to Julien’s website, they sold two items that Robson provided them: a pair of black spandex, fingerless forearm gloves from the music video for “Bad” and a fedora from the music video for “Smooth Criminal.” The fedora sold for $49,920 and the gloves fetched $31,250. It does not appear Robson ever put the “Thriller” items up for sale.

Juliens Auctions@JuliensAuctions

Wade consigned his collection to us directly. He was the person who we paid when we sold his collection. He needed the money.

Juliens Auctions@JuliensAuctions

Wade asked to remain anonymous and said that he did not want anyone to know that it was him selling it the items in 2011. But we did not agree to that and listed it as the Wade Robson collection. He consigned multiple items and wanted us to sell all items of his that had value.

The further you go the better it is. The auction was in 2011 and Robson claims that he arranged the grand bonfire at the beginning of his “healing process” which was in spring 2012 – so now we will have to believe that a year prior to that, when Robson needed the money he sold only some insignificant memorabilia leaving the most valuable things probably worth a million to burn them in a fire….and Dan Reed doesn’t mind this craziness and demands that we should believe it too?


Those images of me burning things are from very early on in my healing process — within the first two to three months… 

[To Reed.] The burning of those things was what I needed to do at that early stage. And I remember, as I was doing that, I was looking at the fire and I started speaking to Michael. I said, “Michael, I’m going to take these disgusting, horrible things that you did to me — I’m going to take your manipulation and your lies and your perversion — and I’m going to turn it into something good. I have no idea how. And I have no idea what that means. But somehow, I’m going to turn this into something good.”

The speaking-to-Michael point is a new twist to Robson’s story. So now he is telling us that when he was burning that priceless jacket he also spoke to Michael about the “disgusting, horrible things” he had allegedly done to him, and declared that from then on all that “manipulation, lies and perversion” would be turned into something good.

And what good did Robson turn all those horrible things into?

Well, six years later, when Dan Reed was filming Robson in a dance room in Atlanta (April 27-29, 2018) where he was part of the Jump 30-city dance convention tour, Robson had a conversation with the musicians who played live music to his dance class and spoke of Michael Jackson in glowing terms again. The sound engineer Kevin Lipsey was amazed to learn that the episodes shot by Dan Reed in his presence found their way into the “Leaving Neverland” film, and only now does he realize the reason why Robson’s demeanor changed into the image of victimhood as soon as Dan Reed’s camera started rolling. Even at that time he had the impression that Robson was playing a role, and now he assesses the chances of Robson being abused by Jackson as zero judging by what he saw and heard in that dance class (for details please go John Ziegler’s podcast interview with Kevin Lipsey).

Dan Reed could have heard Robson’s praise for MJ too, but as we already know he can’t care less. To explain any controversy in the two guys’ stories he has a ready pro-pedophilia answer that they were “still in love” with Michael Jackson – however even this crooked explanation cannot explain Robson’s dramatic promises to cope with all those “disgusting, horrible things” allegedly done to him by MJ in combination with his glowing praise for the same person. Something is surely not right in this combination.

But what accuracy can we expect from Dan Reed if he calls even Robson’s failure with the Cirque du Soleil “bullshit” and alleges that it was Robson who refused them?

Dan Reed:

“The Cirque du Soleil thing is bullshit, because it’s actually Wade in 2012 who writes to the estate and says, look, I’m sorry I’ve been to-and-fro on this but I really can’t do it, so he is the one that pulls out and it’s them who wanted him to do it. That’s factually inaccurate, and I’ve seen the email where [Wade] does it and it postdates all the other emails. …The fans are trying to find inconsistencies that aren’t really there”.

For those who don’t mind the truth here is the real email where Robson implores the Cirque du Soleil chief creative officer to give him the job (the year is 2011 when Robson sold his memorabilia as he needed the money):

From: Wade Robson

Subject: Francois

Date: May 21, 2011


Whichever way it goes, this is a long overdue call.

My first mistake was that I imagined I had the capacity to give all of myself to the MJ Cirque Show, Directing my first film and being a brand new Father.

I always wanted to do this MJ show, badly. But then when I needed to come to that Montreal meeting with ideas, I knew that I did not have an iota of creative space to think about ideas for the show at that time. I was so 100% consumed by the directing gig.

I didn’t say anything to you when we spoke last because I was still trying so hard to convince myself that I could do it. Because I wanted to do it so badly.

But after we spoke, I came to the realization that because of the directing gig, I couldn’t give to the show as I needed to. So I pulled out of your show.

Now, I absolutely did the wrong thing by not calling you, explaining to you why and apologizing. I know that and I am extremely sorry. I was not myself for the last couple of months. That’s the only way I can explain it. But no excuses. My bad.

Look, the Directing gig didn’t work out. It was consuming me in an unhealthy way that I wasn’t ok with being  a brand new father. Maybe it just wasn’t the right time. Maybe I just wasn’t ready to direct a studio film. Either way, I removed myself from the project.

I am really sorry for the back and forth. But now that I no longer have the film conflict, I’d love nothing more than to choreograph the MJ show. I understand completely you being upset and nervous about that idea now.

But if you are at all interested in the possibility. I promise you 100% that this time, once I’m in, I’m in. You will not have to worry about my commitment level ever again. I have learned a lot through this process. I have learned what I did wrong.  Mistakes that I have made. This has all happened for a reason. I know that I am meant to do this show. I am passionate to do this show. I want to make it amazing for me, for you, for Cirque and of course, for Michael.

Why should I believe that this job is not going to be too much for you?

Because of all that I have learned through this process. Directing a film was a completely new realm that I ended up not being ready for. But dance and choreographing is what I have done my entire life. I know how to do this. And there are very few subjects I know more about than Michael Jackson.

Wade Robson


Light Tree Productions

And Dan Reed is probably talking about this entry in Robson’s blog which he could easily write to save his face and cover up for his lies:

“In the meantime, Cirque du Soleil’s Las Vegas Michael Jackson show had fallen apart and been put back together with a new Director who also wanted me to be the lead choreographer. For reasons I couldn’t quite articulate at the time, I was very reluctant to get involved with the show again. But the Director was persistent and persuasive and I ended up agreeing to take the project back on.”

Nice research on Dan Reed’s part. Exceptionally nice research

And do you want to know of Dan Reed’s reaction to even a mild doubt in his findings occasionally voiced to him by some courageous people?

Well, Piers Morgan asked for some proof of the credibility of the two guys but was brushed off by Dan Reed’s furious tirade starting with “Why should we not believe them?”

And why should we?

[Dan Reed] said: “Why should we not believe them?… You are swallowing the Michael Jackson hook, line and sinker. This is not about money. They are suing for justice. How do you know you have won in a civil suit.

Piers asked if the director was “100% sure” if the word of the two accusers was enough to prove Jackson was a paedophile. He said: “It is all very weird and odd and makes me feel uncomfortable. I’m just not as certain as you are that Jackson was proven to be a paedophile and I’m concerned about the credibility of the two people you so whole-heartedly rely on.”

Another damning argument from Dan Reed is that the people regarded by him as the MJ “cultists” cannot know the truth because “they were not there”.

But Dan Reed was not there either, so how is his situation better?And why doesn’t the fact that he wasn’t there prevent him from pushing his story?

Up till now out of all mainstream media only Piers Morgan annoyed Dan Reed with some inconvenient questions while the rest hang on each of his words and strictly keep to the party line… sorry, to the officially approved story.

“This is about children who were molested. What would the Jackson estate have to say about what happened in a hotel room in Paris, in 1988, between James and Jackson? Nothing. They weren’t there.” ….the only noise I’m hearing from the Jackson camp is the estate hurling abuse at children who were raped by Michael Jackson. I think that’s shameful.”

So there were no witnesses and none of us were there. And in the fantastic twist of logic Dan Reed turns the absence of any proof into the argument that we should simply believe the allegations as they are told.

Dan Reed: “What we’re talking about here is acts that took place between two individuals behind closed doors. To my knowledge, no one else was present when Jackson was having sex with Wade or with James. There are no eye witnesses, no one with direct knowledge of the central facts of Leaving Neverland—the sexual molestation of these two children by Michael Jackson. To people who say, ‘Why didn’t you include members of the Jackson family?’ [as some kind of journalistic balance], it’s apples and oranges. They are not journalistically equivalent. Having someone give the equivalent of a character reference in court is not the same as someone saying, ‘I saw him shoot that guy.’

And the more often Dan Reed repeats the word “sex” the more we are supposed to believe it, and it is no problem that there are no witnesses though hundreds of people were staying around and no one saw a thing. And following Dan Reed’s logic the very absence of any direct knowledge is supposed to prove his point. How is that, I wonder?

As to the Jackson family Dan Reed shouldn’t have been that dismissive.

Taj Jackson, for example, is an eye-witness to Robson’s lies. The thing is that in one of Dan Reed’s pivotal episodes Robson talked about the dinner at Neverland where he took the crucial decision to defend Michael in court (he was so shattered by the sight of his children destined to become orphans if he went to jail that Robson-the-knight decided to sacrifice himself for their good, etc.). And what a surprise – Taj Jackson, same as Brett Barnes and other people happened to be present at that dinner, and this is how we learn that the dinner was after Robson’s testimony, and not before it. As a result of this unpleasant discovery one of the pillars of Dan Reed’s scenario crashed with a big bang and the poor author had to cut out the episode altogether.

And Brandi Jackson let down Dan Reed even worse. It turned out that she had a 7-year long relationship with Robson and right at the time when he was allegedly abused by her uncle. And there was absolutely nothing in his behavior to indicate to Brandi that he was in any way affected by the alleged abuse.  Add to it that the film script implied that Michael encouraged the boys to hate women, but it was actually Michael Jackson who brought them together as he knew that Wade had a crush on Brandi – and you will see why a sudden silence fell on Dan Reed and the rest of the media over this subject.

The ABC’s Good Morning America made a half-hearted attempt to invite Brandi to their program but quickly went back on their decision, apparently not to discredit Robson’s allegations.

In short there are so many holes in this incredible story that it will take another four hour film to list them all. Here is the first such hour and a good try:

Leaving Neverland: The Aftermath

Oh yes, there is one more thing. Would you like to know how Dan Reed chooses to establish that the sexual activity did take place though he also says on every corner that there are no witnesses and no one was there?

The method is simple like a piece of cake – you can establish that the sexual activity did take place by simply saying so and describing the acts in their most graphic detail!

This is no joke and is actually what Dan Reed constantly explains.

– It seemed like it was important to you that the film include a lot of explicit detail about the [alleged] sexual acts between Jackson and these boys, and not just rely on the generic statements like “he sexually abused me.”

We had to establish that actual sexual activity was taking place. For so many years Jackson claimed that he shared a bed with children for completely innocent reasons. If we hadn’t had these very graphic, shocking descriptions of the sexual activity that took place people might just think that it was only hugs that were a bit intimate, or slightly inappropriate brushing of cheeks. We thought it was important to make clear that this was sex, not just affectionate touching.


Reed had no qualms about including these details in the film.

…“We needed to establish, in the most graphic terms, that what Jackson was doing with little children was sex. It was full-on sex. It wasn’t slightly inappropriate touching, or a kiss and a cuddle that went a bit too far. It was deliberate, regular sex. That’s why we needed these very graphic descriptions, to leave people in no doubt.”

Dan Reed’s openness is charming and totally disarming – if you don’t have any proof, just make the story as revolting as it is only possible and the shock of it and natural human instinct will do the rest of the job and eliminate your last doubt. See how easy, simple and effective it is?

Certainly nothing like Craig Mazin’s complicated approach:

The show is unflinching in its depiction of the physical effects of radiation poisoning. Was there anything you left out or were asked to leave out because it was too much?

-Yeah, we had to be really careful in episode three when we showed the final stage of Vasily Ignatenko’s body. It was the most extreme thing that we showed, and our makeup and prosthetic designer Daniel Parker did a brilliant job — so brilliant, in fact, that there was a concern that we lingered on it a bit.

…So we shortened that shot by quite a bit, because the last thing we wanted was to feel like we were trading on this man’s sad fate for sensationalist points on a TV show. What we wanted was for people to see the truth of what happens, but we didn’t want to feel like we were exploiting it. Those were the things we were dealing with all the time, because that man was a real person, and his wife is still alive, and the last thing we want to do is show anything other than total respect.

And Michael Jackson was also a real person and his children, mother and loved ones are also still alive (touch wood). But in contrast to Dan Reed Craig Mazin had well-researched facts to build his story on and he also adheres to human and journalistic ethics and this is why he shortened those painful episodes, while Dan Reed based his story on shock value alone and has neither facts, nor ethics to limit him in these endeavors.

Sometimes Craig Mazin also had to depart from strict fact, but each time he took care to explain his decision in a separate podcast:

-Chernobyl makes a few departures from strict fact. What was your rationale behind making minor adjustments to what actually transpired and what was actually said, or inventing a character here and there?

-We had a basic rule of thumb: If you had to change something to be able to tell the story, narratively, then that was the only reason we could change it. We couldn’t change things to make them scarier; we couldn’t change things to make them more dramatic, or more sensational, or more horrifying. I thought that the truth of what happened there was terrifying and distressing enough. But I made sure that HBO and Sky knew, before we even shot a frame, that my intention was to do a companion podcast where I would hold myself accountable for those changes. I never wanted people to think I was pulling a fast one, or trying to get away with something. None of the changes were there to ramp up drama.

This old-fashioned and at the same time novel approach is what makes Craig Mazin so special. Just as he supposed, expertise and the adherence to strict fact are not fashionable with the current media. What’s fashionable is Dan Reed who uses graphic descriptions to “establish that actual sexual activity was taking place”, ignores the facts that are not to his liking and sings his own praises to the unheard of accuracy of his research.

“… I am kind of maniacally fussy about factual accuracy, and the authenticity of the stories that I tell, but I also want to give them impact and reach, and I want to make them engrossing and engaging like movies are.”

Reed says he approached Leaving Neverland with “all the scepticism and rigour that I would approach a story about a terrorist attack”. He went deep into the archives of various criminal investigations, interviewed detectives, and read files and statements, “a lot of which directly corroborated Wade and James’s story.”

“I read a lot of the witness statements there and spoke to a lot of the investigators and I didn’t find anything that contradicted or cast any doubt whatsoever on Wade and James’s accounts.

I looked for anything that could cast doubt or undermine Wade and James’ story. I found nothing at all. I found their stories to be very, very consistent. I found their families’ stories to be consistent with what they had told me.I was looking for anything that might undermine their stories, because I knew if anyone else found it I’d be in big trouble, and I couldn’t find anything. And I did find a lot of stuff that corroborated what they were saying. …There had been these two very big police investigations done in 1993 and 2003, so I interviewed the investigators, spoke to the prosecutors in the 2005 case.

So Dan Reed spoke to the prosecutors and their investigators only, and had zero interest in findings of the investigators for the defense – like Scott Ross, for example. No wonder Dan Reed didn’t find anything contradictory to the two guys’ stories – from their very start these fairy tales were structured along the prosecution guidelines and suited to fit the prosecution witness statements, which Dan Reed admires so much though all of them were derailed during the 2005 trial.

If you apply Dan Reed’s method of limiting research to prosecution documents only and passing them off for the final truth, it will be equivalent to Craig Mazin presenting only the Soviet government official version and speaking only to the witnesses approved by the authorities. What kind of a movie would that have made if Craig Mazin had followed that path? Oh, that would have been totally different cinematography to say the very least 😃

But this cinematography is exactly what Dan Reed did. For me it is a somewhat surreal picture to see how close Britain’s Dan Reed and the US mainstream media are to the Soviet officialdom and how far from it are the American former comedy screenwriter Craig Mazin and his viewers who gave his miniseries the highest possible score, at least for its final episode (10 out of 10).

What this surreal scene also makes you realize is that truth knows no borders and is universal for everyone, same as lies match each other everywhere they reign and know no borders either.

If we were to look for the moral of this spectacular fight between the truth and lies (the truth told in a feature film and lies told in a so-called documentary), all we need to add to this awesome sight would be Craig Mazin’s words which are perfectly applicable to the situation around Michael Jackson though they were actually intended for the situation around the Chernobyl catastrophe.

Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, the debt is paid.”

As depicted by creator Craig Mazin throughout the five-part project, the devastating 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl power plant was the result of a series of lies told by self-serving bureaucrats in service of a corrupt and incompetent government that prioritized its public image above the safety of its own citizens.

While this story is deeply specific to the Soviet regime, it also resonates in powerful and uncomfortable ways in modern America. Legasov and his colleagues — politician Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgård) and nuclear physicist Ulana Khomyuk (Emily Watson), the show’s only fictional character — are forced to constantly defend the truth against powerful people who willfully deny scientific fact, even as it stares them directly in the face. For Mazin, the relevance of this infuriating dynamic was a major reason why the story was worth telling.

“This is in us, a certain sense of denial, a certain sense of groupthink,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “We can say that all we want, but it’s not true, and it costs us. I want everyone who watches this show to consider how they themselves are complicit in a kind of conspiracy against truths that are uncomfortable.

Remove the word “scientific” in the above and you will see how splendid this description is for the groupthink and lies willfully spread about the poor Jackson.

-Have you thought about a follow-up to the show? Is there another historical event you’re interested in approaching in the same way?

-I want to do a million things. If every day could be 70 hours and I didn’t have to sleep, because I’m really just a student and I get fascinated with things. The one thing I can say is I’m going to continue in this vein of making a show about something that matters, that is real. I probably won’t try and duplicate what I did with Chernobyl — I think down that road is failure. We’ve actually had a tremendous response from India, and a lot of people have tweeted at me from India saying, “Tell the story of Bhopal,” which is an incredible story. That’s something that I would encourage somebody else to tell, because I just don’t want people to think, like, “Oh, he’s just trying to play his hits.” You have to write a new song! I know the next thing I’m going to do is something that is about now, and is about here, in the United States, and for better or for worse, I’ll approach it with the same insistence on truth over narrative.

So this is the person to make a true film about Michael Jackson! The subject fits all his requirements – it is something that matters and it is real, it is about now and is about here, in the United States and it is waiting for Craig Mazin to approach it with the same insistence on truth over narrative that we’ve seen in his “Chernobyl”.

I’m not sure that he will ever handle it, but now we at least know the name of the filmmaker who could be trusted with the job of telling the truth about Michael Jackson. Hopefully this time it will not take that long, though Michael sort of envisaged it by saying that “Lies run sprints but the truth runs marathons”.

After all we did have to wait for the truth to be told about the Chernobyl explosion for 33 years, didn’t we? And the long wait made this film only more precious as it reaches to the new generation and answers the new challenges.

And today is only ten years since Michael Jackson passed which is a mere fraction for eternity. So let us not worry and let us give the heavenly justice all the time it needs.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. William King permalink
    August 22, 2019 5:35 am

    Yes, from what I’ve seen, Lies of Leaving Neverland has been pretty effective. The majority of people who aren’t knowledgeable were genuinely surprised when they saw the video for the first time. Seeing Wade Robson lie on video and being able to read his body language is a whole lot different from simply reading words quoted in a text. It’s one thing to reference the deposition transcripts, but video is such an incredibly powerful medium. Lies of Leaving Neverland also show that facts and evidence ARE enough to change minds. If you present information the right way, people will be open to it. Hopefully, Taj and his team are taking note of this and learning from everything that’s going on.


  2. Battenburg permalink
    August 19, 2019 2:00 pm

    The video of Wade’s 2016 deposition is getting a decent amount of attention here in the UK. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to us because we already know the contradictions and we’ve read the transcriptions, however to those who saw Leaving Neverland and believed what they heard, to now hear the stories being debunked by Wade himself is proving very effective.
    This isn’t some superfan saying Michael is innocent. This is Wade Robson still claiming he was molested, but proving that Leaving Neverland is pure perverted fantasy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. August 19, 2019 2:43 am

    @sanemjfan: Thank you for informing us about the deposition video of Robson. The “Leaving Neverland Lies” documentary is very good and convincing, I’m just afraid it’s too late for making Reed’s film ineffective. We can only hope it has some effect on the Emmy award decision. But it’s always the same: If such scandalous huge lies, which are attracting an audience (and that’s the only reason they made it), are once out, it’s almost impossible to eliminate them again. We will have to live with the fact that most people are completely unsure about the truth and we are the only ones having this certainty.

    @luv4hutch: Sorry to say, but I think this “associate” of yours is not the benchmark we should use for orientation on this blog, and quoting him endlessly is useless. William King is right: You are putting too much energy into talking to this guy and quoting him here. He seemed to have made up his mind and won’t change it anymore. Let’s see it as HIS problem, not ours, if he closes his mind to further investigation.


  4. William King permalink
    August 18, 2019 10:32 pm

    @luv4hutch BTW that confidential agreement (I think you mention this before under a different post) sounds a lot like the kind everyone who worked with Michael had to sign regarding music and other related business details they were bound by contract not disclosed. I remember Shana Mangatal also mentioning having to do the same thing when working with him.


  5. luv4hutch permalink
    August 18, 2019 9:51 pm

    I know, it’s just a shame that he’s just so convinced that there is nothing moral in the world anymore, that he’s closed his heart to it all. He even believes a disproportionate amount of fake news regarding certain figures (even though, like me, he’s on the side fighting against it, as far as politics goes and is part of the “resistance”), and is especially clouded about the Clintons, about every allegation that has occurred post-Weinstein, even the ones that were disproven (weaponizing the common fact “if more witnesses and victims had spotless pasts, more of these creeps would be behind bars, but lawyers always muddy the issue”), feels that people like Hugh Jackman and Tom Hanks are just as much “immoral phonies” as the rest of them, despite the fact that it clearly cannot be the case, and is also one of those “people never change, they always are who they are,” types. He was particularly so on that case regarding Mel Gibson and Johnny Depp, even though it’s clear, at least to me, that they are a good man who simply have blind spots regarding alcohol and rage, and merely are unable to think clearly at these times and says things they doesn’t mean just because they want to hurt the other party. There are just as many people that are witnesses to their good character (in Depp’s case that while he has lashed out, he has never been physically aggressive like Amber Heard claims) as there are of Michael, but my associate says “everyone is paid off or intimidated by lawyers.” That’s what he’ll say about Jordie’s friend when he speaks out, and on it goes. I’ll always enjoy his virtual presence and talks about the projects we work on together, but it breaks my heart for him to just accept that everyone in the music/film industry and politics are venal and corrupt, and to succeed, you have to become the same, even though there are countless examples that put the lie to that notion, especially Michael. Sadly, I feel he will never truly appreciate and understand the capacity for good in humanity that still exists, even in times such as these.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. William King permalink
    August 18, 2019 8:16 pm

    @luv4hutch If I were you I would stop worrying about him. Jordan Chandler already told people he knew that Michael was not a pedophile. He spoke openly about it college during the 2005 allegation. In fact, at least one of the witnesses to this fact will be speaking publicly this month. I think you’re giving way too much energy to the guy, quite frankly. Please remember your associate did NOT actually know Michael Jackson. He wasn’t around Michael 24/7 the way Taj and others who actually knew him (inside and outside the family) personally.


  7. luv4hutch permalink
    August 18, 2019 6:53 pm

    Well, I decided to give another attempt to see if my associate in the industry could be swayed when I pointed out the various problems in the Chandler, Arvizo, Robson and Safechuck stories. No such luck. He just said “trauma makes any and all victims have discrepancies in their stories, and lawyers are ruthless in taking advantage of that, putting the victim on trial.” He even had the gall to use Michael Egan as an example, while saying that Robson and Safechuck’s cases are exactly like his. Even when I pointed out how the stories have varied wildly from one telling to the other, he just said “it’s people like you that are the problem in this climate, trying to silence victims.” Before I could address the “loving the abuser” nonsense, he just stopped me and said, “You can’t sway me. I know what my team and I saw when we worked with that man on a jukebox musical project, how it completely shook us, and how ashamed and regretful we are that we didn’t do anything to stop him. This isn’t going to stop at five victims. They’ll all come out of the woodwork. Brett Barnes will come clean, Macualay Culkin will come clean, dozens of people will come forward, and when a forensic psychiatrist deals with it all, it’s going to make the Catholic Church, Jimmy Savile, Jerry Sandusky, Harvey Weinstein, Bryan Singer and their ilk look like choir boys by comparison. I’ve seen the facts, I know the evidence that supports it, the dam that’s waiting to break, and I’m sorry you refuse to see reality.”


  8. sanemjfan permalink
    August 14, 2019 11:49 pm

    Here is some mainstream coverage of the deposition video, from Fox News of all places! one of the most anti-MJ channels out there!


  9. sanemjfan permalink
    August 13, 2019 6:46 pm

    Here’s the video of Wade Robson’s deposition from December 2016!!!!!!!


  10. July 22, 2019 5:31 am

    Hi! First, I want to thank you all for answering my previous questions, I don’t write “thank you” every time under your answer to not spam the comment section. I hope that’s OK? So I thank you in advance for all your work and all your future answers 🙂

    I’m thinking I may be will write a book about MJ’s story, in Russian. I’m just in the beginning, it could take no less then 5 years, I guess. For now, I’m gathering information and try to draw a detailed chronology chart, hence my question:

    Do we know when did Jordy was together with Cascio brothers in Neverland?
    – Frank in his book says “Only when summer vacation rolled around did my parents finally say that my brother Eddie and I could return, this time all by ourselves, for a week or two.”
    He finished 7th grade, and summer vacations should start on June, 20?
    – But June 20-23 (or 24?) Chandlers were in New-York?
    – Then Frank says “The 1993 American Music Awards were scheduled for that night, and Michael was receiving the first-ever International Artist Award, so instead of taking us directly to the ranch, Gary drove us to (…) “The Hideaway.”
    – But the 20th American Music Awards were held on January 25, 1993, so how could that be summer vacation? It had to be some other event, not AMA, bcs Jordy didn’t visit Neverland before February 12, right?
    – But, strangely, Frank describes Michael’s outfit (“a white V-neck T-shirt, black pants, boots, and a jacket that he’d worn to a photo shoot for the “Remember the Time” video.) similar to those Michael indeed wears at AMA. I’m not sure about a jacket though, can’t find that RTT photoshoot.
    – Then Frank writes how he thought Jordy was “really really nice. Next time you come to New York, you should bring him to our house.” “Yeah, we should bring him to New York—he’s never been there,” Michael replied. “Why isn’t Jordy staying with us?” I asked. “I don’t know—Jordy never stays in my room,” Michael answered. “I like it to be just us so we can catch up.”
    So, Jordy never had been to NY by that time? And never had stayed in Michael’s room yet?

    What do you all think? When was it?

    Thanks in advance!


  11. June 26, 2019 8:54 am

    “I am going to watch Chernobyl now, even if it’s just to assert what a terrible, unethical and careless directorDan Reed is .”- Mon

    Mon, you won’t regret it.


  12. Mon permalink
    June 26, 2019 7:48 am

    How genius of you to be able to compare the two directors of such different projects.
    I am going to watch Chernobyl now, even if it’s just to assert what a terrible, unethical and careless directorDan Reed is .


  13. Des permalink
    June 26, 2019 12:51 am

    Thank you again.


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